5 Tips For Asking Your Landlord About Getting A Pet

Many renters have long hoped to introduce a pet into their home life and overall routine. Adding a new pet to your lifestyle can give you an immense burst of happiness and joy. Whether you're a dog person or a cat lover, these additions to the family can transform your life for the better. Yet, the process for adopting a new dog or cat can be very different for homeowners and renters. A renter must ask their landlord for permission when it comes to adopting a new animal. Asking to adopt a pet can be a daunting task for a renter, especially one who's just moved into a new property and hasn't established a deep rapport with their landlord yet. You really only have one shot at making this request. Therefore, renters must take the time to get to know their landlord and formulate a strategy for making a request that will ultimately be successful. The New York Times notes that renters should strategically use negotiation tactics to save on rent, and the same principles apply here, too.

Most landlords are very reasonable and are overwhelmingly willing to be accommodating to the desires and needs of their tenants. But it is still important to consider how you will approach your landlord for the best chance of getting what you want. With these five tips, you can formulate a strategy that's highly likely to yield the desired result when asking to bring a new beloved pet into your home.

1. Broach the subject before signing a lease

Ideally, you will discuss your desire to bring a pet into the home before signing your first or any subsequent lease. Speaking about your desires in advance of any contractual agreement will help you accomplish your goals with greater ease and much more clarity for everyone involved (via Move IQ). This is particularly important for renters who already have a pet. It can be a significant shock to a landlord if they find out you've moved a pet into the home without them knowing about it. This is good practice even for renters who sign a lease with explicit rights to bring pets into the property. Giving your landlord a heads up is a common courtesy and can set your relationship off on the right foot.

For those who are moving with the intention of adopting a new dog or cat (or any other type of pet, for that matter) in the future, taking the time to discuss this contingency before signing your lease is always a good idea. This way, your landlord will be fully aware of your desires and intentions, and you will gain a greater level of understanding of your landlord's thought process surrounding pets in the home. Of course, it's not always feasible to have this discussion, but if possible, you should prioritize it during the house hunting phase and initial negotiation during any move.

2. Investigate relevant apartment building or community policies

Before you go about adopting a new pet, it's important to get an understanding of relevant policies and guidelines that may be in place for your community or the apartment building that you live in. Some buildings won't allow pets, and even if a landlord has many pets of their own their hands may be tied when it comes to allowing one into your property. Alternatively, local regulations could stipulate that a landlord cannot reasonably withhold permission to adopt a pet and bring it into the home, giving you the upper hand in any future negotiations. The Humane Society notes that these issues should be investigated before moving in if at all possible, while prioritizing pet-friendly listings can help sway the regulations in your favor.

Knowing your rights and where any setbacks may be lurking when adopting a new pet is crucial. When it comes to negotiating with your landlord you may be able to use this knowledge to your advantage, or it may set up a big decision about whether to adopt a pet and move to a new home or stay in your current property.

3. Offer up a pet deposit or fee

If your landlord is hesitant about the idea of bringing a new dog or cat into the property that can increase the risk of damage to their asset, then offering a pet deposit might persuade them into your way of thinking. Pet deposits are an additional sum of money used as collateral to repair any potential damage that may come to the property during your tenancy, specifically in relation to your pets (via The Guarantors). This additional funding goes over and above your existing deposit on the home or apartment and can give landlords an increased sense of security when it comes to repairing any damage that may come as a result of your new pet.

Deposit funds give landlords a blanket when making repairs becomes necessary. Instead of having to ask for money from a tent, or perhaps even sue one, to cover the costs of damages to the property, landlords already have these funds available, typically stored in a protected account that gives tenants a sense of comfort as well. Adding to these reserve funds can you give a landlord the peace of mind required to happily invite a new pet into your home. Alternatively, you might offer a pet fee which acts as a one-time payment or supplement to the rent every month.

4. Introduce your future pet to the landlord

To really sell your landlord on the thought of adding a pet to the property, you might consider introducing them to your hoped-for furry friend. A friendly dog or cat can act as a powerful sales advocate when it comes to convincing your landlord that you will be responsible for continuing to manage the property, even with this additional element of potential uncertainty. Landlords are just like any other people, and they often love to meet friendly family pets. Making this introduction can go a long way to building trust and enhancing the relationship between you and your landlord (via The Humane Society).

It's important to remember that adding pets into the mix creates a significant unknown variable for the owner of the home. Landlords don't have any reason to be difficult with their tenants because positive relationships are what build ongoing financial success in these types of investments (via LinkedIn). But a landlord can easily remain wary of the responsibility level of their tenants or the potentially destructive nature of a new pet. Meeting the pet in question may just provide the key point of understanding that a landlord needs to rest easy.

5. Maintain good lines of communication with your landlord

Regardless of what you are hoping to achieve when asking your landlord for things related to the property, maintaining an open and positive line of communication is crucial (this goes for landlords, too, according to Resooma). Becoming friendly with your landlord will help you win them over when it comes to asking for important updates, changes to terms, or the addition of long-hoped-for pets to the property.

It's also a good idea to be candid with your landlord about your intentions. If a property owner is being difficult about this request and you feel that you've gone above and beyond to make them feel comfortable with the introduction of a pet to the home, then you might consider suggesting that this decision will influence your future in the property. It's worth noting that threatening your landlord is typically a bad idea, but speaking openly and honestly about your desires and intentions — particularly in a mature and responsible manner — can help change their opinion into seeing eye to eye with you.